Equipment Help (Irons)
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There's a lot to choose from in your price range, especially if you don't need the newest thing out. My recommendation would be to go and hit some different irons to get a feel for what you like and hit well.
Everyone's different, and to be honest, there's no such thing as a bad club set of irons out there from the major manufacturers anymore, they're just different and appeal to different types of players. In irons, I feel there's really no advantage to graphite shafts for the majority of players. I wouldn't rely on Dick's for a proper fitting either, they're just not trained or equipped for a proper fitting, IMHO.
Any recommendations on where to go for club fitting? Local pro shops? I live in Augusta, and while we might host the golf mecca of the world we don't exactly have lots of big nice retail shops to choose from. Edwin Watts is an option I suppose and can you get competitive pricing at a local pro shop?
While I can't help you with specific locations in your area, I can relate to your situation. I live 30 miles from Pinehurst, but there are only a few places left that will do a good fitting outside of the Pro Shops in some of the larger courses.
I got on Google, looked for local golf shops and called around to find what I wanted, and then chose a place that had Mizuno, Ping and Titleist fitting carts and a reputable Pro that would do the fitting. And I made sure that they would apply the fitting fee towards the purchase of the new irons. Ended up spending over an hour finding the perfect shaft/flex/head combination that fit my eye and gave me the best ball flight for my imperfect swing.
You may try calling the golf course on Ft. Gordon. One of the courses here at Bragg has Ping and Titleist fitting as well.
I got fitted for Pings at a Golfsmith and they did a great job. One thing I like about Pings is the color coding system, that once you know what lie works is best for you, (in my case I'm a blue dot), you can buy them anywhere. And of course your fitting will tell you your shaft length, grip size, etc.
I am not recommending Pings all because they work for me, you need to make up your own mind there. You really need to shop around. My experience is that the local Pro Shops do not offer the best prices, but you'll get better service. See what their prices are and then compare them to on-line, Dick's, Golfsmith.com, etc.
Longer irons are being phased out given the everyone these days is going to hybrids. They are a great alternative to the 3i & 4i. I only carry a 6i on down.
Steel vs graphite really is driven by swing speed, (according to Mike who did my fitting). Mine is low @ 65 mph with a 7i, given age and two back surgeries, so I hit a graphite shaft. When you have your fitting you can decide.
Rocketbladez are a nice club, I was trying them the other day, they felt good.
I don't think you can go wrong with any of the major club manufacturers, it is more what appeals to you. I like my G15s, others think they are ugly and would never play them, to each his or her own.
Took my old DCI 981 7i with me and hit it into the monitor pretty consistently (made more so than most of the others) however i hit it approx 160-165 pretty regularly. Tried out several clubs hit quite a few well, amazing was averaging close to 185-190 with most of the irons I tried and hit it 160-165 on big nasty mishits.
Ended up coming down to the 800s vs the 800 pros. Having played the 981s I feel like the look is much similar to the pros and the distance control while a little shorter was definitely more consistent. I ranged from 175-195 even with the 800s and was much more dialed in around 180-185 with the pros. So I went with the pros 4-gw for 550 with tax and everything (25% off clearance price). Pretty excited hopefully not too crazy going with the pros, definitely a little less forgiving but still feels pretty awesome
You won't find 3i's in most SGI sets, but Mizuno is the only mfg that doesn't offer a 3i in the Game Improvement set - all the others do. I'm basically in the same boat as you (a 3 iron is mandatory for me for long par 3's particularly) & am looking to upgrade from SGI to GI clubs for this year ... looking at the following:
- Ping i20
- Titlest AP1
- Callaway XHot Pro (when it becomes available in Feb)
- Mizuno JPX-825
- Taylormade R11
I would think any of these would do for both of us - I'll be hitting them all at Golfsmith, where they throw in the $79 fitting for free if you buy from them.
If you swing is stable - not perfect, just fairly consistent - I would suggest getting a full fitting.
First, let's look at the classes of clubs suggested by Golf Digest: SGI, GI and Player's. (If you use the original Maltby Playability Factor system, there's seven classes).
The SGI clubs are most forgiving, but tend to have larger heads (can hang up in rough) and more offset (some people say this can cause hooking if you have a stronger swing). If you have a fairly strong swing, be careful about getting a high-launch shaft. SGI heads get the ball up well, and SGI head + high-launch shaft can cause you to balloon the ball, especially on short irons.
If you have some time to work on your game, GI clubs may do the trick. Again, you need the right shaft.
One thing the fitting will show you is the types of shafts that work best for your game. (Shaft is that long steel or graphite rod between the grip and the clubhead - too many golfers forget about the shaft when selecting clubs).
As far as a 3i goes, the ever-stronger lofts make the actual iron numbers somewhat suspect. Some current 3.iron lofts:Titleist AP1 = 20* | Callaway XHot = 18* | TM Rocketbladz = 18*. Back around 1990, the old 1.iron was about 18 degrees - and only super-strong golfers used it. True, lighter shafts and lower center-of-gravity in clubheads help get the ball up, but a 3.iron still remains tough for most golfers to hit. You can find 3.irons in some sets, or buy it from a golf shop that someone swapped out for a hybrid when purchasing an iron set.
Again, get a fitting to see what clubhead + shaft combinations work for you. You don't have to buy everything at once - you can get the specs for the clubs you want, and buy them over the next season as money becomes available.
Good luck with your purchase, but one quick item of note. Today's 4 irons, are essentially yesteryear's 3 irons, so don't be fooled by the stronger lofts across the entire set. If you've already made your choice, then enjoy your new set, if not, make sure you are comparing your DCI's with the proper relative loft of the new set - meaning, don't assume 5 iron = 5 iron.